SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – They were once neighbors before a dispute over a mailbox turned them into enemies.
And in the end, it cost 85-year-old Max Heino his life.
Max Heino’s family agreed to share their store with the ID channel to show the injustice of what happened to them.
“(The public) needed to know what happened to my grandpa’s case, that there was no justice for my grandparents and for our family,” said Heino’s granddaughter Felicia Garcia-Otero.
The real life story began in Helper in 2019. There was growing animosity between Heino and his 72-year-old neighbor Rikhard Tallent.
“My grandpa seen (Tallent’s) mailbox that was attached to their mailbox and it was slightly falling off and it belonged to a neighbor that lived behind them,” Garcia-Otero told ABC4 in 2019.
Tallent lived behind her grandparent’s home. Heino took down Tallent’s mailbox and his neighbor became angry and they came to blows.
“So he came up to my grandpa’s property and started a fight,” recalled Garcia-Otero. “He kicked my grandpa three or four times in the legs and also pushed my grandmother in the face and shoved the fence into her.”
Days later, Heino died. The family claimed it was due to injuries he sustained in the fight with Tallent.
“It would have been nice to have a guilty verdict just to have him be responsible for what he did to our father,” said Heino’s daughter Terri Shimmin.
Tallent’s punishment was time served. He later died from a lifelong injury to his brain.
In the documentary, actors portray Heino, Rikhard and other witnesses. In one scene provided by ID channel, Tallent is arguing with Heino at the mailbox.
Tallent: “Do you want to know what my problem is? That’s my problem (as he points to his head). I got it in Vietnam. Okay, that’s my problem.”
Garcia-Otero: “Rikhard ended up with a metal plate in his head.”
The “Fear thy Neighbor” series on the ID channel airs Monday night. The segment featuring Heino and Tallent is called “The Filth and the Fury.”
It airs at 7pm and again at 10 pm. The segment will also be repeated September 25 at 10 pm.